In the wake of Liu Xiaobo’s death on Thursday, supporters of China’s most famous jailed dissident have voiced their worries about the fate of his widow, calling on the Chinese government to finally give Liu Xia her freedom.
Liu Xia has been living under house arrest in Beijing ever since her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. On Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the Chinese government to allow her to leave the country. Tillerson’s call has been echoed by other officials and activists around the globe — though not by US President Donald Trump — however, China has so far been reluctant to give in to international pressure.
“China is a country under the rule of law. The handling of Liu Xiaobo’s case belongs to China’s internal affairs, and foreign countries are in no position to make improper remarks,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular press conference in Beijing earlier today, adding that doctors had done all that they could to save Liu’s life.
China went public with news of Liu’s terminal liver cancer diagnosis last month, prompting calls from around the world for the Chinese government to give the 61-year-old human rights activist the freedom to choose where he wanted to be treated. However, China rejected all these calls, claiming that Liu was too sick to travel, and instead Liu passed away in a Shenyang hospital room not far from the prison where he spent much of the past decade on charges of “subverting state power.”
His doctors said that Liu Xia was by her husband’s side when the moment finally came. Liu Xiaobo reportedly used his last few breaths to tell her to “live on well.”
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) July 14, 2017
However, at this point, it’s not clear how Liu Xia is living. Since her husband’s death, no one has been able to contact her and it’s not clear where she has been taken.
“I am deeply worried about what’s happening with her right now,” Jared Genser, a US lawyer who represented Liu, told CNN. “The world really needs to rally and mobilize to make sure she can go wherever she wants and that she can bury her husband wherever she wants.”
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